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Wakeup Call: You have got to be kidding

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> You have got to be kidding.

Today is Joe Starkey’s day to columnize, and he does it quite well on this topic. I’ll keep my own thoughts to a minimum as a result.

In fact, here, I’ll just remind you of this quote from Bob Nutting to the Trib on Sept. 15, 2012, regarding front-office job security: “There are loads of reasons and explanations, but the bottom line is we’re not playing acceptable baseball. There is nothing acceptable about the way we’ve played the last couple weeks. We recognize that, and we’re going to do everything we can to correct that.”

That “everything we can” apparently took Nutting a whopping nine days. Because that’s how long it took for him to permit Frank Coonelly to put out that statement yesterday. The quote up there is in the future tense. The quote was in direct response to a direct question about front-office job security.

Nine days.

That was enough to convince Nutting.

So, even if the plan moving forward is to try to work on processes and the like, it still means it took him exactly nine days to decide these men are his unconditional choices to do that. That’s the starting point for a franchise that has experienced two consecutive historic collapses.

Does this even require a comment?

>> Actually, you know, here’s one comment, only it’s not from me.

This was from Neal Huntington to reporters Sunday in Houston, trying to explain Collapse 2 in part by saying that balls just have not been falling in for the Pirates: “It doesn’t mean it’s bad luck, but … yes, it means it’s bad luck. We’ve done some things to not play well, and we’ve had some things go against us.”

Bad luck. For real.

This is from the man who will be most tasked to fairly self-examine the Pirates’ baseball processes.

Just stick voodoo pins in the baseball gods!

>> Reader Keith Froehlich submits this vid to accompany above entry …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ5ob9B9yD4

>> If you’re good at visualization, try to picture Mike Tomlin or Ray Shero uttering anything resembling that quote. Under any circumstance.

That’s when you start seeing the problem.

>> Here’s another comment, also from someone else …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDAmPIq29ro

Thanks to reader Lee C.J. Sobotka for the apropos find.

>> As Joe points out is column, Nutting has not yet been heard on this topic. On Sunday, Huntington declared the two guys under him safe. Yesterday, Coonelly declared all three of those guys safe. Neither of those men has final say.

>> We’ll have what I would expect to be a lively chat today at noon.

>> Today should be Day 10 of Nutting’s in-depth look at the team he owns.

131 Comments

  1. From Starkey’s column:

    “Could it be that team owner Bob Nutting simply doesn’t want to pay people for not working?”

    This is your reason right here folks.

  2. The ONLY bad luck around this ball club are the fans who have had to suffer with this clown show.

  3. Didnt mind paying Littlefield and Tracy to not work…

    DK: You’re right, Josh. Those were one year each. Huntington has two years left.

  4. With all due respect ….The Pittsburgh media continues to give Bob Nutting a relatively free ride.

    I fail to understand why.

    Bob Nutting is no dummy, and he knows how to spin a controlled discussion with members of the Pittsburgh media.

    Nutting does not care for extreme pressure and quite clearly goes out of his way to avoid it.

    Myself (and a host of others) will continue to patiently wait for the day when Nutting is pinned down and forced to answer the tough questions.

    If that would occur once or twice within a short time period…..You might be surprised how quick this man suddenly sells the team and disappears for good.

    DK: Is it really “a host of others?” How about two or three?

  5. It’s not only paying these people to not work, but it’s also admitting you screwed up by giving them an unfounded extension to begin with. And admitting you screwed up is tough for people to try and do, even when said person has not drafted one single player in rounds 2-50 in five years that contributed to the major league product. Zero wins from pitchers. And no regulars in the lineup. Not one.

    So for guys who are so hung up on “track records” to completely ignore this one is hypocritical and degenerative.

    The toughest thing an owner of a business will ever have to do is admit to mistakes. But those who do are also the most successful. As they say in the business world, fail fast and move on. Well… our ownership doesn’t exactly follow that approach. Unless this is the “dreaded vote of confidence” that really doesn’t mean a whole lot. But I doubt that to be the case.

  6. Dejan,

    I recall a comment that you made a week or so ago, about how Nutting is at his office just as much as the the owners of the Steelers and Penguins and that he does care.

    After what transpired yesterday, do you still believe that?

    DK: Huh? What’s the connection?

  7. Joe’s column laid it out very well. To this, I would add that Manny Machado hit two home runs for the possibly playoff bound Orioles. He was drafted by the Orioles in 2010 when we passed on him and took Jameson Taillon. Dylan Bundy was drafted in 2011 by the Orioles after we took Gerrit Cole. Drafting issues, development issues, random or irrelevant? It could be any of the above, but given those and hundreds of other questions require answers, I would suggest that nine days is not enough to do all of the introspection that will be required. It is, however, plenty of time if no introspection was ever truly intended.

  8. Considering everyone is staying, another Kevin Bacon Animal House clip is in order:

  9. DK – From the looks of the current responses….It appears to be an extremely high percentage.

    DK: Ha! Not in your category, my brother!

  10. 1) Team collapses 2 years in a row.
    2) It’s not the President’s fault, but he hired the GM, the assistant GM and the scouting director.
    3) It’s not the GM’s fault, but he hired the manager and made all the moves that put the roster together.
    4) It’s not the assistant GM’s fault, he’s just an advisor.
    5) It’s not the scouting directors fault, even though the draft is his responsibility.
    6) It’s not the director of player development’s fault, even though this system is totally lacking in fundamentals.
    7) it’s not the manager’s fault, he just puts the players on the field and tells them what to do.

    That leaves coaches and players. And several players can be found under buses at this point. Management has said things will be corrected to prevent this from happening again (why didn’t they fix it last year?).

    If I were a coach or a player on this team not named Burnett, Rodriguez, Walker, Andrew McCutchen, or Alvarez, I’d be extremely uncomfortable at this point. There WILL be scapegoats.

  11. Hahahahahaha!!!!!! The video posted above is priceless. They should play that on the PNC Park scoreboard between every inning during the final homestand. Maybe it will brainwash the remaining paying customers to come back next year.

    For my money, Frank Coonelly must be the worst PR man in the history of organized sports. This team is about to conclude the worst collapse by any team EVER in the history of baseball, and he comes out and says everybody’s jobs are safe, a week and a half after HIS OWN BOSS said the team’s level of play was unacceptable.

    If you’re right, DK, and it only took Nutting nine days to decide these were his people….What a slap in the face to any fan like myself who has patiently (crazily) waited for a successful team to be fielded.

  12. The connection is that if he really did care about winning, he would see the writing on the wall. He would make wholesale changes in upper management and bring in people who know to win.

    Yes, he fired Littlefield and Tracy with one year left on their contracts. That was a different situation though. Those two were not part of his team and were easy sacrificial lambs. Everyone in upper management now are part of Nutting’s regime and it would look bad on him to have to get rid of them — not to mention the extra money he would lose.

    DK: My highly specific reference with Rooney/Lemieux was with time spent at the office. Again, what does this have to do with that?

  13. Cajun,

    I think there’s an extremely high probability that Barmes and his ’13 salary of $5.5 MM are safe too.

  14. Amazingly, five minutes ago, the domain name FireNealHuntington.com was still available for purchase.

    Well, it’s not anymore. Just sayin…

  15. In all seriousness…..

    I’ve spent the better part of my life cheering for this team. My old man was lucky enough to have grown up watching Roberto, Stargell, Blass and Sanguillen. He passed his love of this team down to me. My first baseball memory was watching the Pirates play the Mets in the mid 1980′s. I was mesmerized with how Tony Pena could literally sit down behind the plate and still throw runners out. I had the Van Slyke poster on my wall as a teenager. I cried when they gave up those early runs in Game 7 in 1991. I cried even harder after Game 7 in 1992.

    Through the last 20 years, I like many of you have “hung in there”. Just waiting for that one year when we would finally have a winning team. 20 years without having an 82 game winning team. Think about how crazy that is. Seriously, 20 years!

    I envy the older generations. You all got to see this team play in the World Series. You all got to experience a championship. I’m extremely jealous of that. I want to experience that! Just a chance to sniff late October baseball again in Pittsburgh would be a dream come true.

    Like many of you, I go to games every year. I make the trek up to Pittsburgh (a nice 4.5 hour drive) and see about 7-10 games a year. My family and I spend our money on tickets and concessions. Year in and year out we do this. Why do we give our money over to this franchise? Why do we continue to believe that this team will one day succeed? Honestly, at this point I just don’t know anymore.

    Failed leadership has continually led to failed teams. The owners, the front office, the managers and coaches and the players all share this responsibility. We can sit here and debate all day who is really at fault, but we all know it is a shared failure of all parties involved.

    After 20 years of waiting, I can honestly say that my patience has just about worn out. The constant losing has finally gotten to me, and I’m at the point where I’m ready to jump ship. At some point there has to be accountability. There has to be a true commitment to winning. We as fans should demand it, and not accept anything less. The other 2 franchises in Pittsburgh seem to get it. What makes the Pirates so different?

    And in the end, that is all I’m left with. Lots of questions. I wish they would be answered, but I know better than that. Changes need to be made if we are ever going to win again. Unfortunately, no one knows when and if those changes will ever be made.To those of you who choose to ride this team out, I honestly hope that at some point in your lifetime you get to see a winner. 20 years is a long time to wait, and I don’t think I have another 20 left in me to give to this team.

  16. Dejan, In case I don’t make it into the chat, here’s a question to ask Bob Nutting and Frank Coonelly.

    The new TV contracts that go into effect in 2014 for ESPN ($350M/yr increase), Turner($150M/yr increase) and Fox ($250M/yr increase) will reportedly add about $750M a year to MLB’s bank account. This breaks down to about $25M a year, per team.

    Can we assume that starting in 2014, the Pirates payroll will jump to around $80M a season? Or is that money going to get stuffed in shareholders pockets, or to pay off debt, instead of trying to build a winning team?

  17. Dejan,

    Shouldn’t have brought the office thing up at all. Just referenced that so you would remember the specific comment.

    What i’m attacking is the idea that Nutting supposedly cares about winning — which was attached to the column piece that you wrote on Sept 18th.

    I found it. From that column:

    “But let’s start with this: Contrary to all the caricatures of Nutting out there, the man is an intensely involved — though hardly interfering — owner. He’s at the PNC Park offices more often than not. He’s at most home games, plus several on the road and others involving the minor-league affiliates.”

    Put another way, he’s no more or less involved than Art Rooney II or Mario Lemieux.

    Nutting doesn’t spend as much money as fans would like. But the notion that he doesn’t care, based on my firsthand impressions, is flat-out false.

    He does care.

    He doesn’t like what he sees.

    And I won’t be surprised in the slightest if he takes action once this season ends.”

    Again, the being at the office has nothing to do with this. The notion that he cares about winning is what I’m attacking. And based on what happened yesterday, I think that part of the quoted column piece above is entirely false. Lip service and real accountability are two different things altogether.

    DK: Understood and agreed.

    But let me repeat that we still haven’t heard from Nutting. It’s possible he could want to take a harder look than those nine days. It’s possible — as he showed in 2007 — that he cares as much now as he did then in digging for answers.

  18. Hurdled,

    I’m with you. Not old enough to remember any of the World Series winners, heartbroken from the early 90′s, and tired of the losing since.

    I’ve wrote in recent days on this blog about how hard it would be for me to sever my ties with the Pirates. What’s happened in the past week is making it easier for me.

  19. I posted this same reply over at Smizik’s column, might as well post it here too. I became a fan in 1993 and have supported the Pirates ever since. From 93 until about 2002 my friend and I would go to a decent amount of games every season, I would say about once a week or so (depending if they were home obviously). I even went to some away games. Around 2002 we stopped going to games because we couldn’t stand the losing anymore coupled with a feeling that there was no end in sight.

    We were excited this year and last year with the wins but very disappointed with the collapses that followed. We didn’t go to a single game these last 2 years because we refuse to support Nutting and his cronies.

    Today I am giving up on Pirates Baseball completely. The reason is because again there is no end in sight, no glimmer of hope. Then there was the Coonelly DUI sweep under the rug, the Stark story, the continued losing, it is disgusting. These people have made a mockery of what once was a proud franchise. They are an embarrassment to the great city of Pittsburgh and the laughing stock of MLB and sports in general. They don’t deserve my support any longer.

    It is a sad day for Pittsburgh and baseball in Pittsburgh.

    DK: Would welcome hearing from many more of you with reactions to yesterday’s news.

  20. So Coonelly put out the “vote of confidence,” eh? You know who gets votes of confidence? NFL coaches, in a 10+ loss season, about 3 games before they get fired.

    Not saying that Nutting approved of Coonelly’s statement, but I’m not saying he didn’t, either. Either way, he reserves the right to change his mind at any point. Only reason this is a story is because they had the gall to issue a “we’re in charge” statement in the midst of a second-consecutive historic collapse, in a city where people would jump off the Clemente Bridge if it secured a winning season.

    Nutting can’t really do anything right now anyway–if he fires his management, it might be bad precedent for the next GM he hires–I’d like to think that a guy would be able to finish out the year, even if it’s only 6 games left. Also, he can’t really say that they “won’t be back next year,” only because it puts the team in lame-duck status.

    Nutting might very well be planning on firing everybody, and just playing his cards close to the vest. No way to know until the end of the season.

    Nothing to see here until BMTIB shows up to spring training next year. At that point, it becomes a serious WTF moment.

  21. Twenty years (a mere formality) of sub .500 ball is embarrassing, but I continue to believe the more important number is a new record of at least 34 years between National League Pennants, now that 2012 is in the bag.

    I’ve mentioned this several times here, but this generation of fans who can remember 1979 are now the most oppressed Pirates fans in the 120+ years of the franchise.

    Not sure why this seems to get a pass. Think about that. No other group of Pirates fans has ever had to wait this long between World Series appearances.

    Anyway, forget 20. Breaking 20 sub .500 seasons amounts to nothing more than “well played” and “nice try.” The streak of 33, now 34, is the real story.

    Hoka Hey!

  22. Also, I would believe that Huntington is feeling a little more heat than other Bucs GM’s in that past–only because there is a better foundation than in other years. They collapsed, yes, but thru the end of July they were a pretty good team. A new GM walking into a job with the core of Cutch, Pedro, PRNW, GFJ and JMac, not to mention a resurgent AJ Burnett–that looks pretty good on paper before you add Gerrit Cole to the rotation next year, and possibly even Taillon.

    It’s hard to not like the potential for the next few years, and I gotta believe that potential GM’s are looking at the Bucs as a “good job,” instead of what Huntington walked into. Sure they had Bay and Nady, but what is that, really? Nady was having a career year and Bay’s best years couldn’t even get the Bucs a winning season.

    Blame him for the collapse if you want–I do too–but there’s still a good core here, and they’re not far away from winning.

  23. Very simply, I’ve been a Pirate fan for just about my entire 54 years on Earth, being raised in Johnstown. While I have been away from Western PA for the last 30 years, I’ve remained an avid fan of all 3 Pittsburgh sports franchises…even from 1300 miles away. This ownership and management team has told Pirates fans that they don’t care about anything but making money.

    If no changes are made…and we go into next season without resolving the issues that currently exist, I think I can find something to do other than follow the worst management team in MLB. I’ve pretty much had enough.

  24. August and September collapses are the norm under Huntington. This is nothing new. What he says to the team remaining after July 31 seems to induce these types of “finishes.” I hope these numbers are crunched during the critical “self evaluation.” But what do we know? We are just fans, dullards, background noise. These kinds of decisions are best left to elite people, like Frank “Marie Antoinette” Coonelly.

    Aug 2008: 7 – 21
    September: 2008 – 10 – 16 Total: 17 – 37 (.315) July 31 winning % = .463

    August 2009: 9 – 19
    September 2009: 8-20 Total 17 – 39 (.304) July 31 winning % = .431

    August 2010: 8 – 21
    September 2010: 12 – 15 Total 20 – 36 (.357) July 31 winning % = .350

    August 2011: 8 – 22
    September 2011: 10 – 16 Total 18 – 38 (.321) July 31 winning % = .509

    Which brings us to this year:

    August 2012: 11 – 17
    September 2012: 6 – 18 Total 17 – 35 (.327 ) July 31 winning % = .573

    Grand total August & September 2008 – 2012, 89 – 190 = .319 winning %

  25. I’ll I can hope is that Nutting’s FINAL SAY will be to fire, at a minumum, 4 outa 5. Hopefully, the # of days continue and the owner is still evaluating. We’ve held out a slim glimmer of hope for 20 yrs. As DK points out in Joe’s column, Nutting has yet to be heard. I pray that by day #16 or so, Nutting speaks with his final say, that he will be conducting a search for the even better than the best management team in baseball! Please, let the baseball gods prevail!

  26. It just makes me sad. I’m going to the game tomorrow to keep my own streak going. Since 1974 I’ve gone to at least one Pirate home game every year. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if I still lived in Export, but I moved to Washington DC in 1985.

    So, with my kidney stones, I’ll make the trek. But Coonelly, who I went to college with, has tied himself to these clowns. May they all leave on the same bus out of town. According to the head apologist at Pirates Prospects, 2013 is the make or break year now.

    It’s ALWAYS next year, or sometimes 2 or 3 years down the line. I’d like now, just once.

  27. 81 game season ticket holder, 8 rows from the dugout since PNC opened. These are my companies seats, but I approve the expense. For the first time, my 4 seats are not being renewed. No chance. Those entertainment dollars in the budget will move elsewhere. Steelers, Pens, Pitt hoops tickets are harder to come by, but customers appreciate them much much more. The 2 collapses combined with these clowns that run the Bucco show have brought me to this decision. Good riddance. Hoka hey!

    DK: Wow.

  28. I’d love to see how Mr. Coonelly goes about this “critical self-evaluation”. They might want to start with their “internal evaluation ” system as it seems to have produced five years of incorrectly “evaluated” baseball players. Considering that the organization as a whole seems to be incapable of evaluating baseball talent, I wonder if they are going to import a Navy shrink to evaluate themselves

  29. Dejan, you should come to Johnstown this weekend to fill your hockey fix. 3rd annual Slapshot Cup (in honor of….you can guess) from Friday to Sunday as well as ‘Hockey Fest’ on Saturday in honor of Johnstown’s new NAHL team. Sold out first game, probably because Mario will be there, but there is some pretty sweet excitement going around about having some kind of hockey again.

  30. The bucs are making the mistake of evaluating these guys against those they replaced instead of against their industry peers. And they don’t want to pay 2 GMs/etc for the next 2 years.

  31. I share a McKechnie spring training season ticket with a couple of retirees. (Good thing those seats are wide.)

    Directly behind home plate, it is in the raised row just behind the concourse (sidewalk). The raise-iness and concourse make it feel like row 1, but actually it’s in row 7.

    In row 6, across the concourse and one section towards first base, are the seats that Huntington and Stark often use. Close enough to throw a bag of peanuts. Or something.

    It’s sunny, it’s spring, and the Pirates are tied for first place.

    I feel sick this morning. I’ll feel sick then. But I always feel better under the spring sun.

  32. I don’t really see what the big deal is about 9 days.

    My guess is that Nutting was thinking about these things longer than 9 days ago…he just wasn’t talking to the press about it. People were only going to be happy if he got rid of Huntington and Stark…no matter if the decision was made now or in 7 more days when the season ends.

  33. JAL’s Ghosts Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Locke Struggles in Start; Walker Could Get Shut Down

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/pirates-notebook-locke-struggles-in-start-walker-could-get-shut-down.html

    First Pitch: 2013 Is the Make or Break Year for Huntington and Company

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/first-pitch-2013-is-the-make-or-break-year-for-huntington-and-company.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Jeremy Hefner, Mets blank Bucs

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/26/3415168/jeremy-hefner-mets-crush-bucs-6-0

    Pirates won’t fire Neal Huntington, Kyle Stark, Greg Smith

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/26/3413892/pirates-wont-fire-neal-huntington-kyle-stark-greg-smith

    6 Rumbunter

    Frank Coonelly Speaks in Midst of Pittsburgh Pirates September to Misremember

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/09/26/frank-coonelly-speaks-in-midst-of-pittsburgh-pirates-september-to-misremember/

    7 McEffect

    Do We Really Need Changes?

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/09/do-we-really-need-changes.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Pirates Embarrrassed 6-0

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/09/pirates-embarassed-6-0.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Another miserable night

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/09/another-miserable-night/

    10 WHY GAVS

    Neal Huntington and his staff get a vote of confidence

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2012/neal-huntington-and-his-staff-get-a-vote-of-confidence.html

  34. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Mets Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120927_PIT@NYM/piratesmets-preview

    12 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds to bring ‘A team’ against Pirates

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120926/SPT04/309260136/Reds-bring-team-against-Pirates

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze89qxh80ti-20120926,0,3367637.story

    14 Sportsnet

    Snider Saga Part II: A deal gone sour

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2012/09/26/travis_snider_saga_part_two_deal_gone_sour/

    15 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards haven’t clinched but ponder how to celebrate

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-haven-t-clinched-but-ponder-how-to-celebrate/article_d70f9441-5f73-51b6-bb40-ca220570fdb0.html

    16 New York Times

    Wright Breaks Mets’ Hits Record; Dickey Seeks Milestone of His Own

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/sports/baseball/pursuits-of-individual-milestones-give-the-mets-something-to-celebrate.html?ref=baseball&_r=moc.semityn.www

    17 Washington Post

    Pirates eliminated from playoff chase with 6-0 loss to Mets; Hurdle and Huntington returning

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/pirates-eliminated-from-playoff-chase-with-6-0-loss-to-mets-hurdle-and-huntington-returning/2012/09/27/011068d0-085b-11e2-9eea-333857f6a7bd_story.html

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Postseason hopes end with loss to Mets

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_26_pitmlb_nynmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Walker could be shut down for final week

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120926&content_id=39053804&notebook_id=39057928&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    On the Beat : McClatchy Comes Out

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18470

    20 Fangraphs

    Remembering Jack Wilson

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/remembering-jack-wilson/

  35. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Reasons Why Defensive Concerns Are Being Blown Out Of Proportion

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/26/3411398/nfl-week-3-steelers-defense-coverage-pass-rush-carson-palmer-mark-sanchez

    5 Burning Questions As the Steelers Begin Their Bye Week

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/26/3410696/steelers-raiders-questions-defense-haley-bye-week

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Defense Predictable? Against The Raiders They Were Several Times Pre Snap

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/09/steelers-defense-predictable-against-the-raiders-they-were-several-times-pre-snap/

    23 Blitzburgh

    Let’s Be Honest For a Minute Here

    http://www.blitzburghblog.com/2012-articles/september/lets-be-honest-for-a-minute-here.html

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Steelers Foote Says Players Don’t Trust LeBeau

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/09/26/steelers-foote-says-players-dont-trust-lebeau/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Lists and TV Schedules

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/09/26/lists-and-tv-schedules/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Checking In With the Commitments: Scott Orndoff

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/9/26/3384764/checking-in-with-the-commitments-scott-orndoff-Chryst-Pitt-Panthers-Holtz-Carswell

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Can WVU Beat the Blitz Deep?

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=55234

    28 WV Illustrated

    Maurice Zereoue Paving Own Path at WVU

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/19643845/zereoue-paving-own-path-at-wvu

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Capital One Cup round-up

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11670/8112689/Capital-One-Cup-round-up

    30 Daily Telegraph

    John Terry faces judgment day over FA racism charge

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/chelsea/9569412/John-Terry-faces-judgment-day-over-FA-racism-charge.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 26th September, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-26th-september-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    32 Pensburgh

    Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Sign Tangradi, Bortuzzo, Strait, Thiessen and Zatkoff

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/9/26/3413944/wilkes-barre-scranton-penguins-sign-tangradi-bortuzzo-strait-thiessen

  36. Ghosts Strawbs 1975 English band formed in 1964. Has had numerous personnel changes over the years with lead singer Dave Cousins being the constant. Still tour regularly in the US

  37. Not to play semantics here, but are we to believe that Nutting’s analysis started exactly 9 days ago? He’s had nearly 5 years of Connelly and Huntington job performances to evaluate. Are we really to believe he just opened up his files and started looking to evaluate their performances 9 days ago?

    As you said, DK, we have yet to hear from Nutting on this matter. This strikes me as classic, internet-age reporting and fan reaction before a story is complete.

    Looks to me that Connelly is simply doing what Huntington did last week when he tied his fate to Stark and Smith. Seems that he is offering Nutting a “package deal,” if you will. The rest of the story – that being Nutting’s actual decision on these guys – seems yet to be written.

  38. To me, 82 is still something to celebrate until it isn’t something to celebrate. I’d kind of like to see all of these guys fired symbolically on the day of loss #82, whenever that happens to be.

    That would be the first public admission from anyone in that office that a winning record is important. It sounds nice to say that a World Series title is the only goal, and everything else is fluff. But the reality is that only one team gets to realize that goal any year, and for a fan base that has gone through what this one has – look at this blog! – 82 is a very big deal….until it’s not.

  39. So more lip-service from Coonley indicating after the season they will evaluate this collapse. Not sure why. It was all just bad luck. Done deal. Go on vacation.

    Personally I tried to get away from Pirates baseball this year. I am 40 years old and been a fan since the day I remember listening to game 7 of the ’79 series on one of those old 2-knob radios. I watched this year – not so intently and not with passion but I followed. But now I think this will be it. I have been a big believer something is wrong with the scouting, the minor league development and the plan overall (with all its statistics). These guys have turned me off for the last 2+ years. If they are to be retained I will be off baseball. I just don’t see the commitment to win. I see gimmicky practices and ideals that when you break it down it seems like too much focus goes into these numbers instead of actual instruction. (I recall Bill Parcells talking about statistics when it came to the NFL draft and he basically said he just wants guys that know how to play football – it doesn’t matter how high he can jump. Can he play football. I wish the Pirates went back to mostly evaluating baseball players).

    If NH wants to talk bad luck how about not having the #1 pick two years in a row when Strasburg and Harper came out. But then I view that as karma. If you spent or were willing to not be cheap then maybe luck would have turned in your favor and you would get the top pick those 2 years. But Karma doesn’t work that way.

  40. Daquido_Bazzini
    September 27th, 2012 – 1:30 am DK – From the looks of the current responses….It appears to be an extremely high percentage.

    DK: Ha! Not in your category, my brother
    ——————-
    DK – so your saying fans don’t want pressure put on Nutting and/or him to sell? Am I reading your comments incorrectly? From the looks of the posts and people I speak to “on the streets”, EVERYONE wants all of these buffoons gone

  41. Oh one other thing…I know big companies down here where I live hire staff to follow social networking sites and their own website to follow what EVERYONE is saying about their product and service. I don’t feel like the Pirates are doing that. They are so stubborn it seems like they say they could care less what we fans think. Oh well.

    Here is hoping the fans stay away next year and when they do all announcers and sport shows understand Pittsburgh is a great sports city…but the fans are showing this distaste for management

  42. I am a Pirate fan! Not a MLB fan, but a Pirate fan….I don’t watch other teams and cannot root for other teams.

    I started following the team in 1st grade (1959) when I realized Elroy Face’s daughter went to my grade school. My favorite uncles were huge Pirate fans and taught me to appreciate the team and the Great One.

    I have experienced 3 World Series titles and numerous competitive (winning) seasons.

    I lived outside Pittsburgh for 35 yeaqrs, but ALWAYS checked the Pirate box scores….ALWAYS. Many times even before looking to see what the Steelers or Pens were doing. I also went to Pirate games whenever possible – Forbes, 3 Rivers, PNC all hold memories for me.

    I am back in Pittsburgh, have had several 10 game ticket packages and average about 12 games a year. I have tickets for the last 2 games this season (bought them in July when I thought we had lightning in the bottle). I will go and root for the players and SAY MY GOODBYES to PNC.

    I won’t be going to another Pirate game until, at the very least, Huntington and his sidekicks (Stark and Smith) are gone.

    I don’t watch ROOT sports – what a farce they are – and I don’t have a cable package – I listen to the games on the radio (the way my uncles taught me).

    Anyway, if you happen to go to either of the last two games and see a 60-yr old, bearded guy wearing his “Clemente hat” and shirt crying like a baby, feel free to come up and say good-bye…..

    I want to be a Pirate fan, but this management team has made doing so impossibloe for me. I wish the players well and might catch a game or two on the radio and even look at box scores, but no more of my money will go to Nutting.

    I do this FOR MY LOVE OF THE PIRATES (not the owner or FO) and my remaining sanity.

  43. Let me qualify by saying I am strongly in the “heads must roll” camp, even all the way up to NH. The major league roster and minor league reinforcement crop is indictment enough.
    But I think the focus on NH’s “bad luck” comment is a bit unfair. Probably (I’m hoping) just a somewhat poorly worded way of stating the team had a lot going it’s way for awhile (in addition to playing well), and has not had such fortune as of late (along with compounding it ten-fold with its poor play). I was listening to the interview Sunday when he said that, and my first reaction was really no reaction — just thinking kind of, “yeah, they’ve played very poorly in many ways, and they’ve not had nearly as much go right, either (babip, etc.).” I don’t think those two ideas have to be exclusive of each other.

  44. DK has written many times about the small size of the season ticket base.

    If that group grows this off-season, the FO will feel validated, and if it falls, that might get their attention.

    As bdubb wrote, the Pirates are not losing sleep over our posts on this blog. These guys don’t even think that we are savvy fans, like those in Boston.

    We get bombarded w. catch phrases like accountability & all-in, but when push comes to shove, the team is turning a profit — while increasing in value every season. On one level, that is “winning.”

  45. Here’s Cutch’s response to the news that Hurdle and Huntington will be returning next year (taken from JAL’s link to #17)

    “Yeah, I suppose that’s nice,” McCutchen said. “Glad they’re coming back. Don’t have to worry about anybody going anywhere. So, I guess that’s always a plus” (washingtonpost.com, 2012).

    Is it just me, or does this comment just ooze with excitement?

  46. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over and expecting a different result.

    I’ll have nothing further on this.

  47. Though it’s not likely NH and FC attempted a incredibly ballsy power play, I’m holding out hope that BN still is doing his ‘review’ and will assert himself. The man has an opportunity to go from one of the most vilified men in Pgh to a hero – pull the trigger Mr. Nutting.

  48. A few weeks ago I was willing to give NH another year. Then my feelings changed to if Huntington stays he’s got to get rid of Stark and maybe a few others.

    But the more I thought of that approach I felt that even if NH got rid of Stark he would probably hire the first guy who said “Yea, I’m into all the analytics you guys use and I’m all for the alternative methods you guys are into”. Basically he would hire Kyle Stark 2.0

    I didn’t have enough confidence that they would really change the way they draft and develop players or the way the evaluate free agents.

    Now. I’m not sure what to think. But I do know that I’ll still follow the team closely, go to a bunch of games next year. Watch and listen to almost every game. And we’ll make our annual trip to see Spring Training games in Bradenton. I even hope to see Drew there and throw a bag of peanuts at him.

  49. Regarding Bob Nutting’s potential reluctance to let someone go and pay them not to work: which is worse, paying someone not to work or paying that person to continue to work even when you believe they are not doing a good job?

  50. @Bradthedad

    You are exactly right. This really looks like these guys are all banding together hoping to create some solidarity, almost masking their actual performances.

    DK’s column on Nutting last week actually gave me a lot of hope that Nutting really does know what he’s doing, and rather than being some disconnected greed-head, he simply trusts his baseball people to make the baseball decisions. When a change is needed, let’s hope he’s there to do it.

  51. If you go to games & attend spring training you are rewarding the regime and validating what they are doing and how they approach building a team (on the cheap) and how they continually b*tch slap us fans.
    Those validating this fiasco really have no reason or room to complain.

  52. “So, I guess that’s always a plus.”

    That’s beautiful.

    And maybe brilliant. Seriously.

  53. I’ve been thinking about the SEAL training and how it affects the minor leaguers who were involved in it…

    This whole deal has been covered by a lot of different outlets, mostly making fun of the Pirates for doing it. Regardless of how effective it may be, you gotta think that people are going to look down on the Pirates for doing it. And not just outsiders, but prospective minor leaguers–the players the Bucs hope to draft in the upcoming years.

    That’s what I’d be worried about–the next “Mark Appel” who the Bucs draft. College players, and their “advisors” will be well-apprised of this situation, and you can’t imagine Scott Boras advising his client that the Bucs’ farm system would be a great fit for a prospective stud.

    It would be one thing if the Sox or the Yankees pulled this stunt; they’re franchises known for winning. The Pirates can not afford to be the early adopters, at least not until they’ve built that culture of winning.

  54. Oh, I didn’t know that. I didn’t realize just because I liked to attend games that I was validating a fiasco…and that meant I wasn’t allowed to complain or be upset.

    So if I don’t go to games then I am free to complain all I want.
    I just want to make sure I understand the rules.

  55. @TC–

    ANDROIDS SUCK AND THEY’RE OUTDATED AS SOON AS YOU BUY THEM AND THE BUILD QUALITY IS GARBAGE!!!!!!! DON’T EVER BUY ONE!!!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >>that’s how I read it. Go to Pirate games. I would if I could.

  56. Andrew’s comments and the performance of the team last night show the amount of excitement by Coonelly’s announcement. 3-hit by a guy who didn’t get an out in his last outing. Another stellar performance from Locke, who’s “trying” to win a spot next year.

    Pat,

    You and I were in first grade at the same time. Wish I could tune them out. Probably won’t happen. Sure would like to see some accountability at the top. More than just “we’ve improved” in 5 yrs. How much worse could we have gotten?

  57. Part 3 of the Snider story just hit the internet. Part 2 in todays links and part 1 in yesterday’s links but today’s story has links to part 1 and 2

    Snider Saga Part III: A ‘burden’ is lifted

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2012/09/27/travis_snider_saga_part_three_a_burden_lifted/

  58. Lucky,

    I still on occasion drive by the house that Roy Face owned. I remember seeing him washing his car and cutting his grass…..

    Accountability….I think we were mistaken or maybe it was a mistake by the PBC….they actually want to improve their ACCOUNTING..ya, know, how much money did we make last night, last week, last month and how much we will make in the 6 remaining games…

    They (PBC) only understand financial accounting NOT accountability!

    Anyway, they have driven me away from the ballpark….and maybe my boyhood team!

  59. The only positive way to look at this is to know that the pressure will be on the front office and the team in ’13 and if they don’t produce they “most likely” will be gone. This means that NH needs to make good personnel decisions that will benefit the team, and not his usual cheap buys of over the hill guys. NH knows he’ll never get another GM position, so this is it for him!!! At least, I hope this is the case. We’ll see if pressure makes or breaks him! Doc jean

  60. Is there anything that this franchise does that should surprise us anymore?

    They can’t spell PR if you spot them the P ….

    As far as season tickets, its too late for me, they already sucked me in with that playoff nonsense

    Sigh…..

  61. I’m going to point out that I predicted this. And not in any type of pessimisstic, SALE THE TEAM, Nutting-is-too-cheap-to-fire-them type of way. This is why I have been posting questions about next year’s roster. These guys are going to stick around for another year because … well … there isn’t much a different GM can do.

    Not all of that is bad news. The Pirates have a young roster, under team control, with some talented guys at key positions (CF-Cutch, 2B-Walker, 3B-Alvarez). They’ve got some solid veterans under control for next year (Burnett, Rodriquez, GFJ, Hanrahan, Barmes). They’ve got some highly skilled young players that need some seasoning but could break out at any moment (Marte, JMac, McPherson). And they’ve got a handful of a kid in the minors who could be ready to play impactful roles as soon as next season (Cole).

    Don’t take this as an endorsement of Huntington. The Pirates could do better than him at GM. But the team DEFINITELY doesn’t need to “rebuild”. If you brought a new GM in tomorrow, his actions to affect the 2013 roster would be to sign a new catcher out of free agency and replace Jason Grilli in the back end of the bullpen.

    That’s it.

    While I believe the Pirates will be better off when Huntington is gone, I’m certain that the lack of needed roster moves contributed heavily to Nutting’s decision. If this team was more in flux, it would be more necessary to make a management move immediately.

  62. I used to wonder:

    What will come first, a winning season for Duquesne University basketball or the Pitttsburgh Pirates?

    Now I wonder:

    What will come first, a winning season for the Pittsburgh Pirates or PNC Park being torn down in favor of a new stadium that will make the Pirates “competitive”.

  63. BTW, Foo has been right on point about this. Everything is different if JMac doesn’t fall apart in the 2H. The Pirates may not have won the division, but we’d have already broken the streak.

  64. Im done

    Not one cent will leave my pockets for those clown.

    Mario Lemieux once called the NHL a ” garage league”

    This once-proud franchise needs put into a garage forever.

  65. Regime fans favorite catch phrases are being used again I see:
    - “years of control”
    - “If”

    How quickly some of you forget……

  66. I haven’t posted for a long time. Nothing against DK – I’m still dialing up blog.triblive.com about 10 times a day. Nothing against (most of you) here in the asylum. It has everything to do w/ my sanity. But, today I write.

    I’m 29 years’ old. Attend about 10 games a year, sometimes more since PNC opened. For some insane reason, I’m going Tuesday. In wiffle ball games growing up, I was Andy Van Slyke. Like many on here, I cried myself to sleep the night Sid Bream slid across home plate. I ran around the house screaming (for joy) the night of the no-hitter and Three Rivers. I sat in the first row behind the Pirates’ dugout the 2nd exhibition game ever at PNC — the day before opening day. From the left field bleachers, I teared up the morning Jason Bay bowled over Eric Munson of the Astros to win it in the bottom of the 18th. Like Pat4Pgh at #43, I go to games knowing full well that I’m stuffing the green into Nutting’s pocket not because I like baseball (although, of course, I do LOVE baseball), but because I’m a Pirate fan. I cheer for the home team, and don’t care who laughs at me for it.

    But Hurdled #16 has summed up my thoughts and feelings this morning much better than I could ever express from a keyboard. I haven’t posted on here in more than a month because this team, literally, has emotionally spent me. I haven’t watched a full game in about 2 weeks. My wife has actually made me turn off the TV at times because I get so angry I go to sleep crabby.

    I’ve been alive for 3 Stanley Cups and 2 Super Bowl wins (and 2 losses). Perhaps the only thing worse than being a Pirate fan is being a Pitt grad/fan. I would give my left arm for football/basketball national championship and my right for a world series trophy. I’m right handed.

    This isn’t the most coherent of posts — thanks Hurdled for stealing my thunder — so I’m done. But I’ll finish by saying “I’m done” pouring my heart and soul into BuccoBall. I’ll root. I’ll cheer. I’ll wish them well. But “I’m done” hanging my hat on “we’ll get em next year,” or “this 5 year plan is the last one.” After 20 years and four 5-year plans, I’m just plain done. The divorce papers are in the mail.

  67. FJ–so, are you saying Foo was right that the major reason for the collapse is JMac? Or are you just saying that we would have broken .500 if JMac had done better? Those are two different issues in my book.

  68. Nutting is the real loser here. Just when one thinks his reputation can’t get any worse, he proves us wrong. He continues to show his true motivation by not increasing spending at the Major League Level…now even to the level of not replacing some of the most incompetent men in baseball…for no obvious reason other than to save money on salary. How else on earth has nobody been fired?!?!?!

    As far as Frank goes, his “decision” to retain the dream team beneath him is one of pure genius. He now has escaped peril twice in one year…the first time being when he drove up an exit ramp while drinking more than Nutting Kool-aid, and now the second…maybe even more impressive. By retaining Neil et al, he is providing a layer of protection that will protect his job for at least another year, maybe longer. And let’s be honest, nobody else is banging down the door to get his services. If the Pirates tank again next year, THEN he can remove some pieces and talk about real changes being made, provinding even MORE time for him to remain employed by Boss Nutting, while the team will assuredly need to “re-organize and implement a new strategy with a new team in place…..blah blah blah”.

    This organization is a joke. With each passiing year in power, Bob Nutting further cements himself as the worst owner in sports. The Pirates are, without a doubt, the most pitiful operation across the world of professional athletics.

  69. Arriba, I guess it depends on how you defined the “collapse”.

    If you define the “collapse” in that we aren’t in the thick of the playoff race anymore, then JMac is a large reason — but one of many.

    If you consider the “collapse” in that we’ve played sub .330 baseball for two months, then no one has had a greater affect on that poor play that JMac. He’s been the worst player on the team for the past two months, after being the 2nd best player in the 1H. That’s devasting, as Foo has pointed out. Not just psychologically, but tangibly on the field.

  70. I have one question, just out of couriosity for everyone here. If the problem is lack of depth and lack of ability to sign contributing free agents, then who would YOU have signed this past offseason that would have made things any different? Assume you had the same budget that was spent and needed at least 3 of the 4 pieces that NH got. One starting pitcher, one catcher, and one SS. I’ll even allow you to resign Cedeno if that’s what you think is best.

    What caused this collapse was lack of depth in the system. Poor drafting. 5 years into this NH deal and we are looking at a ML system that outside of the “can’t miss pitching prospects” drafted in the higher rounds, nothing of any consequence exists. Sanchez is a bum. bell is so far away and is set back by the knee that it could be a 3 years or more until we see him. And that about sums up the hitting prospects.

    What concerns me the absolute most is the pitching. The fall off in pitching after the break is startling. If you don’thave good pitching you just can’t win. Last year it was Karstens and Correia and Morton that look like legitimate top of the rotation guys that flamed out in July. This year it was McDonald, Bedard, and even to some extent Burnett who’s second half selves looked very little like the guys we saw through mid June and into July. And who was there to catch these guys when they fell? Jeff Locke, who we were all hoping may be called up to replace one of the starters if they got traded at the deadline. And Kyle McPherson, and Justin Wilson. How are these guys panning out now that they are in the lineup? Maybe we couldn’t trade any of them because despite their AAA numbers everyone else in MLB knew they weren’t ready to contribute.

    My point is, you can call for Huntingtons head all you want. i’ll join you. You should be calling more loudly for Smith’s head. Forget the free agents. the cupboard was bare. but the lack of any servicale talent in the big leagues was alarming. And the lack of stamina by the pitchers even more so.

    Look at this winters free agents list. Tell me who from that list you would sign to replace the likes of Barajas(OK anyone is better than barajas), Barmes, Presley, Harrison, D’Arnaud, Locke, and mcPherson.

    The future isn’t any brighter. The holes in this roster are gaping. Even if a new GM came in, it may take him 5 years to supplement this roster with winning players even if he doesn’t need to blow it up by trading McCutchen and Alvarez. Unfortuanately that is probably a better option than having NH continue to try to do it.

    My prediction for 13…
    Starters look like studs through the break.
    Offense gets off to a better start than last year but never reaches the hights it did in July.
    In July 2 starters get hurt and the others fade.
    The offense slumps.
    The record will be worase than this years.
    Huntington finally gets the can.
    New GM candidates come in and look at the situation and run for the hills.
    Another character with no clue how to sign proven major league talent or draft future talent takes over.

    You know the one thing that made me realize this team was doomed the minute huntington was signed? He didn’t replace a single scout. Not one talent evaluator was given the axe. Talent evaluation is why this team is where ti is. Huntington should be fired for that fact alone.

    Wow that was a long post. Sorry for the book.

  71. I know I’m repeating Foo’s posts from yesterday, but the Pirates won 71% (12-5) of the games JMac pitched from the beginning of the season until July 12. From July 13 on, the Pirates won 23% (3-10) of the games JMac pitched. And go look at the individual game breakdown on BBref. The Pirates’ run production in those last 13 games wasn’t terrible. They averaged scoring 4.8 runs per game in those last 13 outings. If JMac wins 71% of his outings from July 13 on, the Pirates would have 6 extra wins … we’d be 82-73. 1.5 games out of the wildcard spot, and our win on Tuesday night would have broken the 19 year losing streak.

  72. FJ–cannot dispute how bad JMac’s been compared to his first half, but for a guy who plays every 5th day to account for the sometimes atrocious play the other 4 days, too? That’s one of the things I can’t get my head around. And it’s even more than the other 4 days, because he wasn’t going to win all his starts, or pitch shutouts.

    Tim Williams (sorry DK) actually has an at least reasonable analysis on the collapse. He said they had three players who were key to the first half success have bad Augusts—Burnett, JMac and Cutch. And JMac was the one who also had a bad September. If analyzed that way, I suppose you could say it was “largely” JMac.

    But that seems to be the opposite of your point in #71.

  73. @ FatJimmy……If my aunt had testicles, shes be my uncle….

    Stop with the ” if” game……its what losers resort to….

  74. @TK

    you may be kidding about that, but it is a real possibility. The lease on PNC Park is half way through is now middle aged. The problems that are lurking 15 years from now related to the existence of the Pirates are many. Anybody around here get a warm fuzzy feeling from Mr. Nutting, please stand up. Does he seem dedicated to the city in the way other owners of other teams may be? …No answer required

  75. Just for perspective, find anyone outside of Pittsburgh who isn’t weighted by the emotion of the collapse who thinks NH should be fired. I’ll wait. I’ve been asking baseball guys all over the web, and everyone has said he has done enough to stay.

    I’m not sure I agree myself, but I am certainly not outraged.

  76. What a bunch of delusional, arrogant, ireesponsible donkeys these FO guys are. I’m in the same boat as tmp444 and Hurdled in regards to life experience with Pittsburgh sports. I’ll never forget winning lucky tray day at my elementary school cafeteria (in bustling Fallowfield Twp) when I was 5 that won me tickets to see the Bucs play the Mets in their Strawberry/Carter/Gooden days. I’ll keep loving the team, but loathe the FO, so maybe I’m the real delusional donkey. Shame any fan should feel like that.

  77. Arriba, there is no doubt that various people slumped in the 2H. With Burnett, the Pirates won a ridiculous 87% (13-2) of his games until that magical July 13 date. After July 13, they won 43% (6-8) of his games. Now we can point the finger at AJ, too, because if he had kept his winning percentage up in the 2H, the Pirates would have won 6 extra games — same as JMac. But I think you would agree that >.870 winning percentage is unrealistic for ANY pitcher, and of course a .430 winning percentage isn’t good but is also better than the team’s overall winning percentage in these last two months.

    So I’m less accusatory of Burnett.

    AMac, sort of in the same boat.

  78. I have been living outside of the Pittsburgh area since 1992 but was born and raised a Pittsburgher and I do bleed Black and Gold. I was a follower of the Pirates for all of that time and now that I have been living in the DC area for the last 12 years have become a bit of a Washington Nationals fan. Regardless, I still always rooted for the Pirates and when they were here playing the Nationals I would go see the games and root them on. But if there are no changes within the Pirates organization I am done with them, I couldn’t go to Pirate home games so I supported them through merchandise purchases and that will stop! I now live in a city where the baseball team is worth going to watch and they have the management and owner who want to put a quality product on the field. I suffered through the rough few years here in Washington but it didn’t affect me because I have (had) been a Pirates fan for so long and was used to losing. But now that I have a franchise to root for that understands that the fans are just as important as the product on the field my allegiance may officially transfer over to the Nationals at this point. Let’s face it nothing the Nationals do in the win/loss column will ever be as epic as the failure that the Pittsburgh Pirates have become over the last 20 years.

  79. I’m not going to do the work (no time) but if Cutch had continued to hit .370 or if Burnett had continued his pace I’ll bet you could make the same kind of case as the one on JMac. You can’t prove a comparison of who was most at fault by pointing to one player’s statistics.

    FJ–Just a quick and dirty peak at AJ same stats you listed for JMac–he was 10-2 in the first half and 6-6 in the second half. If he was 10-2 in the second half we would be in the same position you said we would be with with JMac–6 more wins.

    I’m not arguing that AMac or Burnett are the major cause, I’m just pointing out what I see to be a flaw in your and Foo’s analysis.

  80. Unlike some, I would have been greatly uplifted by a winning season this year. Like Pat, I’ve seen 3 WS championships, 6 of 8 SB championships, several Stanley Cups and my favorite college team (OSU) has won 2 National Championships in my lifetime while tanking two BCS title games in the process. Even the Buckeyes basketball program has been to the Final 4 only to lose, but the joy of seeing that streak monkey off the backs of the PBC would have meant as much to me as any of it, even the Super Bowls, as the teams that peak at the right time in the NFL are the ones to win.

    Those World Series wins meant much more for me, as all were 7-game wins and we weren’t the favorite in any of them. To get to 82 this season when we weren’t expecting it would have been phenomenal. It’s probably not going to happen, and metrically speaking, who cares anyway, right Neal?

  81. Jimmy–obviously I posted #81 before I saw your #79, but that does bring up another thing that I think has been bugging me a little about this dump on JMac. It’s unrealistic to expect AJ (10-2) and AMac to continue their first halfs (I agree). But it’s not unrealistic to expect this young pitcher JMac to continue his 12-5 pace? I don’t see this as being remotely fair or logical.

  82. Arriba, I pointed out the same thing in #79. If you expect a guy to win 87% of his starts, that’s unsustainable. As is hitting .370. No doubt that both AMac and Burnett have struggled more than reasonable, but no one is in the same category as JMac.

    And, don’t get me wrong, I’m not spewing venom at JMac, but we’re agonizing over “why” the collapse happened and wanting to point to major infrastructural issues to explain it.

    The answer may be a fairly simple one: JMac sucked in the 2H.

    It’s not an exciting answer. But the right answer isn’t always the most exciting one.

  83. There has to be more to owning an MLB team than an open pocketbook. I think this owner has faced a high learning curve, and refusal to spend money has not been the source of his problems. Witness the stupidity of the Morris fiasco, early in his ownership. One could argue recent expenditures have been almost as bad (2 years for Barmes comes to mind), but I think you have to think about the expenditures in Latin Ameri ca and the kind of clever, if unproven efficacy, of draft “over slot” activity. He went out and got a hot-shot guy from the Comish office to run things (probably not cheap). I could go on, and on, but I do believe his is more savvy at this point and expect his next actions to produce better results. I think he will look at results in the W/L column and made wiser choices — I hope.

    Speaking of “hope,” anybody who saw Marte’s throw has to be encouraged.

  84. Arriba, like I said in #84 (we’re overlapping a bit), I’m not BLAMING JMAC in the sense of wanting to egg his house or something. And I’m not letting Burnett off the hook. But, okay, let’s play that game … if Burnett had been able to win 71% of his starts from July 13 on, the team would have won an additional 4 games.

    So 6 extra wins for JMac starts, 4 extra wins for Burnett starts, now the Pirates are 86-69 (17 games over .500, btw) and have a commanding 2.5 game lead in the wildcard (and actually, that’s not true because we may have won some games against the other contenders, so we may have actually clinched the playoffs).

    There, that’s TWO guys who have underperformed. The real question for next year is: are Burnett and McDonald aces? Or is Burnett just another guy and is McDonald not a viable major leaguer?

  85. Jimmy–and just because an answer is simple and unexciting doesn’t mean its the right one. I’m not looking for the exciting answer, just the right answer, which probably is more comlpicated than “JMac sucked.”

  86. I think it is fascinating that some folks are blaming Collapse Part Deux on Jmac! Yes, he lost whatever made him the pitcher he was in the 1st half, but who kept sending him out to the mound – HURDLE and Searage, so they own a big part of the collapse.

    As any fan could see, JMac either lost confidence and then his mechanics broke down or the mechanics broke down and his confidence went bye-bye.

    Why couldn’t Huntington see this and move to have an other pitcher available? So, HUNTINGDON also owns a big part of the collapse!

    Blaming JMac is so inane; the H-boys (Neal and Clint) drove this team to where they are today!!! Both of them should go, but it seems they won’t be doing so anytime soon.

  87. Gotta go, Jimmy. Enjoyed the discussion. I don’t think either one of us called the other one names or questioned each other’s fandom. :-)

  88. Exactly, Arriba. Thanks for the discussion, it was fun.

  89. Wow! Why does it NOT surprise me that this has become the “Anti-Huntington” blog? It would have NOTHING to do with DK having the ‘biggest pitchfork’, now would it? :)

    Of course, once Dejan made the ‘prediction’ he’d be fired we KNEW the opposite would happen! :) :) :) :)

    I agree with everything Tim Williams said in P2′s “First Pitch”. I suggest reading it before continuing with your deep knee jerks. (And Jandy, you deserve the right to knee jerk…you’re the ONLY one, because I like YOU. :) :) )

    I have ZERO problems with this announcement. Overall, NH has done well, imho.

    I am probably the ONLY one here who thinks that, but who cares?? :) :)

    ==========

    Fat Jimmy/AW…..If our starting pitching hadn’t collapsed (with JMac the biggest ‘offender’), I think we’d EASILY be looking at 5-7 more wins. And, we’d be a whole lot more optimistic.

    JMHO as always.

    ==========

    As for this “I want to hear from Nutting” nonsense, do you REALLY think that Frank didn’t clear this thru Bob BEFORE making this announcement? Do you really think that FO is THAT fractured? Not buying it at all.

    Voice in the Wilderness Foo
    .

  90. AW…come back….I’m just getting going……:)

    Foo

    .

  91. Now that the REAL NFL referees are back, I expect to NOT hear one complaint out of the players.
    :) :) :)

  92. “Confidence in and support of Neal, Kyle and Greg should not be misunderstood with acceptance of another poor finish at the Major League level. We must understand why the quality of our execution and play deteriorated so markedly in August.”

    OK, first, it’s “misunderstood as” or “confused with.”

    Second, execution and play didn’t deteriorate as much as revert to the talent level. Everyone went through a spurt where they were performing WAY above their historical averages. I credit the coaches with that. They had them, two years in a row, coming out of the box playing the best baseball of their lives. Talent will out, and eventually that’s what happened. What Frank did with that statement (in my opinion) was basically lay blame at the coaching level. Coaches don’t sign the talent. Input, yes. Signing, no.

    Kudos to the front office for bringing this franchise back from the dead, but they’ve only gotten it as far as critical condition. Five years for that step is too long.

  93. Collapse 1.0 should have raised some eyebrows and brought on concerns. Collapse 2.0, going from 16 OVER .500 IN AUGUST with nearly a literal STRANGLEHOLD on a PLAYOFF SPOT should get people fired. If not for this very failure, for the fact that Hanky Franky and Neal the SEAL really don’t have a problem with it. Neal just said the other day he is happy with progress. WHAT PROGRESS?! We couldn’t even finish .500! And next year might be better?!?!?!

    In fact, METRICALLY, we are right where we should be. So metrics now predict the future. Hey Neal, can your metrics tell me when I’m going to hit the lottery? Did they tell you us fans would be endangering your family’s mental health? If one of my clients is unhappy with my work, I don’t seek pity and accuse them of causing my family undue distress. Presumptuous, arrogant little…

    And yeah, the players absolutely stunk it up. Beyond belief! For crying out loud, Hugh Hefner just freakin destroyed us! He’s one of how many jibronies who have done as much this season. Why should anyone think next year is more promising? Because our recent stretch of turnaround seasons is so encouraging?

    Granted this is a hockey example, but principle is the same. Craig Patrick (2 championships under his belt) put together, at least on paper, a pretty freakin promising team after the lockout. Didn’t work. Canned. Michel Therrien took Pens to the finals. Didn’t win. Had a rough stretch next season. Canned. What accolades do the delusional donkeys in the Pirates FO have to claim they deserve a different fate? 3 pitching prospects? Come on.

  94. You mean I read all that and there’s no fight?

    How disappointing.

    There’s 10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

    Ok. 30.

  95. Please disperse, nothing to see here.

  96. Brad,

    RIght on point!

    Those jibronies own the Bucs because our ADVANCE scouting is (a) inept or (b) underfunded/undermanned. Hurdle keeps saving the hitters didn’t follow the game plan – you can only learn so much reading stats and looking at MLB.com replays!

    I know nothing about Neal’s family and do not care about their mental health – hey, bimbo, the criticism comes with the job! Think how distraught he’d be if he worked in NYC – oh, wait, he’ll never work for a major market ballclub! He is making serious money to FAIL at his day job, hopefully he is better at taking care of his families finances.

    His metrics said the team was above plan, therefore, quit trying….thanks, Neal, for the 5 years of losing!

  97. Brad, Indiana PA — not to risk blog anonymity. But when exactly did you grow up in “bustling Fallowfield Twp.”? Because I grew up in bustling Fallowfield Twp…..

    CHS grad 2001.

  98. What I’m going to suggest is counterintuitive to what everyone’s gut reaction is to the latest gem from TBMTIB. I think everyone SHOULD go to as many games as they can this last homestand. The only chance the fans have to force Nuttig to take action is to show him that the we will not let the news from the past week go away. Make a mockery of things-Hoka Hey till you can’t yell any more, dress like the Grim Reaper and wear a “20″ sign around your neck, basically do whatever you can think of to embarrass him into taking action. The more legs this nonsense has, the greater the probability he takes action IMO. If I wasn’t over 10 hours away I would most definitely be there. It’s up to you local guys to carry the torch, literally and figuratively.

  99. tmp,

    Started K in 87-88 (I think, sadly don’t remember exact year) at old Fallowfield El. School then went to Charleroi when the new elementary opened up for second grade. Moved after 7th grade though and graduated from Norwin ’01. I loved the old Fallowfield School, was sad to see it close and fall into disarray.

  100. Brad — we would have been in the middle school together, then, in 6th and 7th grade (I was a good catholic school boy thru 5th grade).

  101. Brad,

    My elementary school was subsequently converted into Condos for seasoned citizens.

  102. tmp,

    That’s crazy! I played for Fallowfield all that time.

  103. Milo,

    Last I saw, mine was, eh, not looking so good. Even that was almost ten years ago. I’d be shocked if it’s still standing now. But it was a nice, large historical building with some neat architecture that was in a pretty rural area. Oh who am I kidding, it was very rural. Made it all the neater, though. Glad to hear yours is being put to use.

  104. @Milo – Way to bring it with the Naked Gun clip. That sums things up very well for our Buccos.

  105. Time for copy and paste post…

    “He made pitches, his changeup was effective and his fastball was good,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “What we made hard on ourselves was the first eight innings and 24 outs to play with. We had 11 fly balls and eight punchouts. That’s 19 soft outs.”

    That’s the same Hefner who was pulled from his previous start after allowing seven runs on six hits without recording an out against the Phillies on Sept. 20. The right-hander, who struck out five in his previous three starts combined, struck out seven to match a career high. It was his first win since Aug. 4 and just the second time in 12 starts this season he was pitching after six innings.

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/2661701-85/pirates-mets-locke-games-eight-innings-previous-starts-win-career#ixzz27gUE4q6P
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

    Apparently we saw something all these other teams were missing in the ol’ fastball changeup combo.

  106. The same Jeremy Hefner that spent about a month on the Pirates 40 man roster last winter.

  107. DK and everyone else here,

    I was born the last time the Bucs won the Series in ’79. Sid’s slide in ’92 feels like another lifetime in an alternate universe. I do not know what it feels like to root for a baseball winner.
    Up until yesterday, I always felt like and believed that the decisions that were made were the results of misses in evaluation (happens even to Pens and Steelers) or bad luck (injuries to players, etc). I always have been holding out hope that the personnel decisions would start falling the right way and the luck would eventually even itself out. After yesterday, I now realize that the culture that exists at the PBC isn’t just about bad decisions, but the APATHY toward those decisions and the INDIFFERENCE toward a bleeding fan base for the sake of saving face.
    So, we say that Mr. Nutting genuinely cares about his club. Fine, but does he care ENOUGH to really do something about it. Patience is no longer an option at the PBC. It’s bad enough to play it overly-conservative at trade deadlines for the “big picture” but to endorse the antics that have come out recently and the second consecutive collapse is downright heartless. Mr Nutting, please put yourself in our shoes. Understand our perspective. We make no money off your club, we spend money. We demand much, much better. And I believe we deserve much, much better.
    As the Rooneys once said, I believe at one time about their team, “This isn’t America’s Team, it’s Pittsburgh’s team.” Mr. Nutting would you please make the Bucs Pittsburgh’s team again?

  108. The one and same guy that had a career high in strikeouts against us last night.

    Anyone have any idea of how many pitchers have done that vs us this season?

    But, all is well.

  109. Brad…even Paul Wagner and Kip Wells would pitch the occasional good game.

    Foo

    .

  110. Obviously, striking out a lot is NOT always a bad thing:

    From ESPN “The Oakland Athletics have set an American League record for striking out the most in a season.”

  111. Foo – good read on the Pirates Prospects piece. Thanks for the tip.

    Jal – thanks for the Snider links. I hope he puts it all together next year.

    I’ll still be buying tickets and supporting BFD’s “regime”.

  112. @Foo

    Touche, sir. But how many had Hugh Hefner pitched recently before last night? Perhaps if he wasn’t the ump-teenth no-namer to embarrass us this season I’d find more consolation. Hope the hotel info helped.

  113. Herbert Lom has died.

    Seriously, what’s next ?

  114. Huntington’s quote makes me think of the ending to the bugs bunny cartoons.

    Fog horn leg horn anybody?

  115. Doesn’t a manager or GM get fired after the owner or president comes out and gives them a full endorsement?

  116. *usually

  117. The more I think about this, the angrier I get. It is utterly stupefying that Bob Nutting does not comprehend that he is entrusting yet another draft to a team that shown itself incapable of evaluating and selecting talent. He is entrusting for yet another year tens of million dollars worth of talent to people who, to be charitable, are less effective than almost any organization in baseball at getting talent ready for the major leagues and bringng up a polished balplayer, ready to compete at this level. Leave Hoka Hey aside and look at the record. It has been five years, and aside from Alvarez (whose journey has been tortuous at best) not a single player on this roster who one could call a difference maker was drafted by and brought through the farm system by this management team. As for non-draft acquisitions, for every Jones and Hanrahan there have been three Bedards and Overbays. Bad luck, or bad talent evaluation?

    I fervently hope Bob Nutting has a last word tucked in his back pocket, and I’m prepared to wait. But an opportunity was missed to clean house and start fresh. I have no doubt that Bob Nutting will regret having done nothing if that is what comes to pass. The question is how much more damage will be done by the time he does what he must. If he is expecting a championship caliber to team to emerge from this roster, he needs someone who understands the game to conduct an immediate intervention.

  118. @Foo

    Its only bad when its the Pirates…nobody cares what other teams do, especially when they are compared to what people complain about with this team……….

    Ruins their entire arguement..

  119. Brad…hotel info helped.

    Thx

    .

  120. BVB

    Like the post, but is it possible that BN is a poker player? These things shouldn’t be played out in the public, even though many of us in the public have to have the information ASAP.

    Let’s see what happens when the season ends.

  121. Foo,

    Yeah, I was tipped off that was going to happen at the grocery store over the weekend.

  122. BarryVan….I suggest you ‘quit thinking about it’.

    Anger is a choice.

    Btw, I am QUITE fine with the news that we have NH for another year.

    ======

    Ryan….I have visited the KC Royal blog site….they make this site look like Sesame St. Dayton Moore is going into year 7!! NOBODY wants him there for that (no “LeeFoo” to defend him….lol). The Seattle site with Jackie Z (who was credited by Melvin for building the Brewers) is also on shaky ground!

    NH is God Foo

    .

  123. Ryan…..why does everyone think Bob Nutting is going to say anything different than what FC said? Who do you think TOLD FC to say what he said?

    It makes no frikkin sense no matter HOW you twist it.

    Foo

    .

  124. Foo

    “too much time on my hands” rings a bell.

    Watched the Giants game last night. They committed 3 errors, won 5-0 behind Matt Cain.

    Amazing to watch a team that can shut down their mistakes. Of course, its nice to have Matt Cain on the mound as well.

    That ball park and their fans are amazing. You watch that team, it goes as far as the pitching does, but they are a team, no doubt. Buster’s the big bat, but other than that,including Pence, the others get the job done.

    They are developed. They can lay the bunt down when needed. Hit the ball to the right side to move a runner. THROW OUT BASE STEALERS (except when Linecum pitches). Fun to watch.

    Still can’t turn though….

  125. Foo

    Just playing the what if game……….hoping for the best.

  126. Re: Post #28 – That sure speaks volumes. Wow, indeed. And the videos – Just outstanding. I am restaurant having lunch now and watching this. Just laughed out loud. Thanks, Gents, for the laugh!

  127. @Milo – No one could bring the crazy quite like Herbert Lom. His nervous cackle/laugh/twitch is one of my favorite things in the Pink Panther movies.

  128. The fact that the front office will all come back has actually brought some semblance of peace to me. The world makes sense again.

    The Pirates players play with no guts because their front office doesn’t have any either. Pretty simple stuff. And i dont care that a few have played well. Where’s the fury? Where’s the meltdowns? Where’s the tension? It’s obvious the whole organization is ok with gaining a couple wins to say there’s been “improvement”. They have no understanding what sports are about. What do they know of competing and giving everything you have to win? That’s the point right? Not for the Pirates. Put off today what is in your grasp for is infinitley more uncertain tomorrow. Oh and luck! It was luck that hit a homerun, luck that put the listless players on the field, and luck I guess that everyone still has their jobs. What hippies! What hells angels! What boy scouts!

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